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Electronic communication, Technology, Online, Diversity, Nursing education



  1. Teikmanis, Mahra MS, RN
  2. Armstrong, Janet MA


Communication on the Internet offers teachers a unique method for promoting learning among students who are challenged by numerous factors such as linguistic and cultural considerations. This article describes the use of out-of-class online discussions to promote active student learning among a diverse group of baccalaureate nursing students enrolled in a large lecture class. Student-to-student and teacher-to-student asynchronous threaded discussions occurred out of class. Students earned class points by posting and responding to classroom topics. By the end of the 15-week semester, there were approximately 790 messages on the bulletin board. Eighty-five percent of the 64 students participated in this assignment. Of the 64 students, approximately 50% were moderate to high users of the activity and 14% did not participate at all. There were no statistical differences between native English-speaking and non-native English-speaking students and their preference for study partners, interest, or experience with the Internet. These initial results suggest that this assignment, based on electronic discussions, promoted greater participation and feedback among this diverse nursing student population. Despite the potential isolation of Internet and e-mail-based communications, this computer-based technology may, ironically, facilitate an important shift from teacher-orchestrated to student-centered learning.